CEE’s best bank for corporate responsibility 2022: Santander Bank Polska
Central and eastern Europe’s best bank for corporate responsibility this year inevitably goes to an institution that has focused on aid for Ukrainian refugees. For many banks in the region, this was an overwhelming priority during the first days and weeks of the war.
Santander Bank Polska rapidly rolled out a scheme to help the UN’s refugee agency deliver cash to Ukrainian refugees through unique nine-digit codes, or BLIK cheques. Refugees having registered at UN reception facilities could then use the codes, together with an SMS password, to withdraw cash from most ATMs in Poland (not just Santander Bank Polska ATMs). According to Michal Gajewski, Santander Bank Polska’s chief executive, it only took a couple of days to build the solution.
By early April, the Santander group had also helped to raise over €10 million to aid the humanitarian response to the war, much of it from employees and clients of Santander in Poland, with the bank doubling their donations.